Choosing a Warehouse Racking System

August 30th, 2013

A racking system can either make the life easy or complicated in your warehouse or distribution center. Physical constraints and the operating requirements whether simple or unique need to be considered on the existing changes plan or expend the existing facilities before selecting a rack system.

  1. Storage density. By analyzing the current storage volumes by SKU, you can identify deep-lane storage such as double-deep, drive-in, drive-thru opportunities which can dramatically increase cube utilization within a warehouse.
  2. LIFO or FIFO? For FIFO (First in, First Out), consider pallet flow racks. However other deep-lane storage alternatives in a FIFO environment under the right circumstances can also be considered. But carefully on it  because buried loads may significantly increase your material handling labor costs.
  3. Easy to pick Inventory. To have access to specific pallets at all times, deep-lane storage is not suitable. In case of a space crunch, you may have no choice but force to “bury” pallets. If this practice is limited to the slowest-moving SKUs, the additional labor required to access these loads may have to be used.
  4. Forklift access. Fork truck selection is critical especially for drive-in, drive-thru, or double-deep racks. With select rack systems, a minimum of six to 12 inches can also be added to the “right-angle” stacking aisle requirement as provided by the truck manufacturer. This will greatly help to reduce damage to both product and racks
  5. Picking profiles. How the inventory is packed? Are they in pallets, cases, or pieces? Are you picking from bulk to replenish a forward pick zone? Depending on the answers, different types of racks might be required and configure.
  6. Warehouse lighting. Increased accuracy & sight, reduced rack damage, and improved work environment are all factors to consider when lighting a warehouse.
  7. Warehouse environment has a direct impact on the cost and type of rack being selected. Consider warehouse climate, wash-down requirements, local government regulations, and other special product handling needs.
  8. Capacity. Do not estimate or guess how much the heaviest pallet loads weigh. Weigh them properly. Based on the heaviest pallet will be stored into any of your storage racking locations, then build up the  racking system accordingly. This will help considerably in building up the flexibility and safety into the storage system.

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